Happy Monday everyone!! Can you believe it's November?? I don't think I've ever looked forward to the Holiday season and the approaching New Year more than I am right now. I think having a child does that to you. The excitement of Holiday traditions, snow, Christmas music etc. just brings a new excitement to my heart because this year our Landon is here to celebrate with us :)
As Christmas is quickly approaching the focus in the Maxwell house is turning more and more to giving. Ryan and I want Landon's first memories (not that he'll remember this year) of the holidays to be linked with reaching out to others. We want to train him so that what he looks forward to the most is the joy he receives when he does something for someone else. These are the traditions we really want to focus on.
I don't know if the pillow pet project will become a yearly tradition for our family, but one thing is certain, we will NEVER forget this Thanksgiving.
Our wall of pillow pets is ever growing. That's not even all of them, we have another whole x large space bag full. We now have around 50 in our apartment... LOVE IT!!! I know they wont be here forever so we're cherishing the time we get to host them in our cozy home. We know each of them are going to special families so whenever we see them (which is constantly) we pray for those families.
Little update: Last week I was able to speak with the childrens administrator at Amplatz again. I told her our plan to hand them out on Thanksgiving. She got a concerned tone in her voice and told me that her and her staff will not be in until the week after Thanksgiving. Hmmmm I thought, "well we could try to do it sometime after our son has his heart cath." She told me "no, I really want you to be able to do this." Then she told me that there is a woman who raises money and volunteers to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the families who aren't allowed to leave the hospital. She is another mama who's child was once in the hospital long term. She saw a need and now every year she does this for the families. Sarah (the child administrator) told me that she would talk to this woman and see if we can join their Thanksgiving party. I was THRILLED with this idea!! It's way better then I imagined because it will be a laid back atmosphere and we wont be rushed because we wont have a hospital staff member escorting us around. Sarah also told me that, if at all possible, they let families go home for the holidays so the only families left will be the ones that REALLY need some hope and cheer!! I told Sarah how our pillow pet fund has reached its goal and she thought that was awesome. She asked if we were going to have enough for the siblings to and I told her we're hoping so :)
So long story short, God is continuing to open doors in the the hospital for us and blow our minds with his plan for this project! We are so excited to witness what He is going to do!! Also, we're hoping since we wont be intruding in patients rooms that we will be allowed to take pictures :D I know you all deserve to see the smiling faces that you have brought to these special kids.
If your on facebook join our group "Landon's heart" I try to post updates on there more often then I get to on the blog. Also, if you have any space bags that you would be willing to donate or lend to us that would be beyond great. Ryan and I have discussed multiple times what we should do and we've come to the conclusion that if we have them shipped to Minneapolis we will have to pay shipping and we will STILL need space bags so that we can transport them to and from the hospital. Our Jeep just can't hold 50 boxes!! So as of now, we have enough space bags for 50 pillow pets. We are planning on using the extra money we've raised to purchase space bags for the other 50, but if we can get some space bags donated then we can instead use that money to buy even more pillow pets, which would be ideal! If you have space bags you would be willing to donate or lend us email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's also SHOE BOX TIME people! If you're not familiar with Operation Christmas Child you can go to their link here. I will be honest I spaced on this, but it's not to late to fill a shoe box. I want this to be a tradition that Landon will ALWAYS remember. Parents, we need to teach our kids that it's better to give then to receive. So take your child to the mall and let them go crazy finding fun things to give to a child "who may not receive anything else for Christmas." We might even try to stuff a pee wee pillow pet in ours (not one off of our wall of course :) If you have time, go to focus on the family and listen to the end of their brodcast today. A woman from Bulgaria told her story of how a shoe box changed her life and it had me sobbing in my hands. After hearing it I decided that it doesn't matter how tight on money we are, we need to teach Landon that we always have enough to give. If you have older children I encourage you to have them listen to it with you.
Another way our family is giving this year is by joining with the cause for the orphan in whatever way we can. I know I've posted on here before that God has given me a huge passion for orphan care and it wont be the last time you'll hear about it from me. We are determined to be a family that teaches our children about those less fortunate. We don't want Landon to feel sorry for himself because of the trials he faces, but instead we want him to see the blessings he has. We want him to know that there are children that don't have a mommy and a daddy by their bedside and they must face the pain of this world alone. We know that Landon has gone through horrible things that a child should never have to face, but as far as we're concerned he has everything he needs because he has love... he has SO MUCH love. Our hearts break for the children that have never known the love of a family and we want that fact to break Landon's heart as well.
Yesterday was orphan Sunday and I hope that all of you took a part of your day to pray for the most helpless and defenseless in our world and learn more about what YOU can do to help the ones who hold such a special place in God's heart. I was blessed yesterday to get to hear twice about the amazing ministry "Bring Love In". Twice I was brought to tears by this families astounding story of total surrender to the God they serve.
Click on the link below and watch this families story and the ministry they have created.
Bring Love In
That video breaks me every time! You can't see the faces of those children and hear the words of the song calling you to WAKE UP and not be moved.
Through our experiences with Landon God has woken up Ryan and I. He has opened our eyes to a world that, if we hadn't been pushed into it, we may have gone our whole lives ignoring.
In this world is pain.
In this world is hearbreak.
In this world is death, but in this world we have also found...
A greater life than Ryan and I could have ever imagined. A life of complete surrender and trust. Where anything goes as long as God says so. We are DONE putting God in a box. DONE saying "God Your will be done." and yet only praying for the comforts of this life. NO, we don't want to live the American dream. We want to live WIDE AWAKE!
Tonight for those of you who live in Bismarck, I and a group of other woman who have made the choice to live wide awake, will be serving at the Pizza Ranch. 10% of the profits they earn tonight and 100% of all the tips we make will go to "Bring Love In"
Hope to see you there!!
I was planning on giving you a "normal" update on my growing boy, but passion took over so I'll have to save that post for another day :)